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find that Central American and South American history and legends tend to illustrate the same primitive belief, that inter-communion with the gods was to be secured by the hearty surrender of self-as evidenced by the tender of personal, or of substitute blood. A Guatemalan legend has its suggestion of that outreaching of man for fire from heaven which is illustrated in the primitive and the classic myths of the ages. The men of Guatemala were without the heaven-born fire, and they turned, in their longing, to the Quiché god, Tohil, seeking it from him, on such terms as he might prescribe. "The condition finally named by the god was, that they consent to unite themselves to me, under their armpit, and under their girdle, and that they embrace me, Tohil'; a condition not very clearly expressed [says a historian], but which, as is shown by what follows, was an agreement to worship the Quiché god, and sacrifice to him their blood, and, if required, their children. They accepted the condition, and received the fire."2

In the light of the prevailing customs of the world, concerning this rite of blood-covenanting, the require

1 See Réville's Native Relig. of Mex. and Peru, pp. 63, 163; Cory's Anc. Frag., p. 5; Dubois's Des. Man. and Cust. of India, Part II., chap. 31; Tylor's Prim. Cult., II., 278 ff.; Dorman's Orig. of Prim. Supers., p. 150; Anderson's Lake Ngami, p. 220.

2 Bancroft's Native Races, V., 547 f.


ments of the Quiché god were clearly based on the symbolism of that rite; as the historian did not perceive, from his unfamiliarity with the rite. If men would be in favor with that god, and would receive his choicest gifts, they must unite themselves to him; must enter into oneness of nature with him, by giving of their blood, from "under their armpit, and under their girdle"; from the source of life, and at the issue of life; for themselves and for their seed; and they must lovingly embrace their covenant-god, accordingly. And in the counsel given to those new worshipers, it was said: “Make first your thanksgiving; prepare the holes in your ears; [blood was drawn from the ears, as well as from other parts of the body, in Central American worship; indeed one of their festivals was 'the feast of piercing the ears,' suggesting a similar religious custom in India ;] pierce your elbows; and offer sacrifice. This will be your act of gratitude before God."2

Among all these aboriginal races of Central America, not only was the flesh of the sacrificial offerings eaten as in communion with the gods; but the blood of the offerings, and also the blood of the offerers themselves, was sometimes sprinkled upon, or commingled with, those articles of food, which were made 1 Monier Williams's Hinduism, p. 60.

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a means of spiritual inter-communion with their deities. Cakes of maize sprinkled with their own blood, drawn from "under the girdle," during their religious worship, were "distributed and eaten as blessed bread.”1 Moreover, an image of their god, made with certain seeds from the first fruits of their temple gardens, with a certain gum, and with the blood of human sacrifices, was partaken of by them reverently, under the name, "Food of our soul." 2 At the conclusion of one of the great feasts of the year at Cuzco, in Peru, the worshipers "received the loaves of maize and the sacrificial blood, which they ate as a symbol of brotherhood with the Ynca "3-who claimed to be of divine blood and of divine power.


Herrera describes one of these ceremonies of intercommunion with the gods, by means of a blood-moistened representation of a god. "An idol made of all the varieties of the seeds and grain of the country, was made, and moistened with the blood of children and virgins. This idol was broken into small bits, and given by way of communion to men and women to eat; who, to prepare for that festival, bathed, and

1 Bancroft's Native Races, II., 710.

2 Mendieta's Hist. Eccles. Ind., p. 108 f.; cited in Spencer's Des. Soc., II., 20.

Acosta's Hist. Nat. Mor. Ind., Bk. V., chap. 27, cited in Spencer's Des. Soc., II., 26.



dressed their heads, and scarce slept all the night. They prayed, and as soon as it was day [they] were all in the temple to receive that communion, with such singular silence and devotion, that though there was an infinite multitude, there seemed to be nobody. If any of the idol was left, the priests ate it."1

So marked, indeed, was the sacramental character of these Peruvian communion feasts, that a Spanish Jesuit missionary to that country, three centuries ago, was disposed to see in them an invention of Satan, rather than a survival of a world-wide primitive custom. He said: "That which is most admirable in the hatred and presumption of Sathan is, that he not only counterfeited in idolatry and sacrifices, but also in certain ceremonies, our sacraments, which Jesus Christ our Lord instituted, and the Holy Church uses; having, especially, pretended to imitate, in some sort, the sacrament of the communion, which is the most high and divine of all others." 2

Yet again, a prisoner of war would be selected to represent one of the gods, and so to be partaken of, in inter-communion through his blood. He would receive the name of the god; and for a longer or a

Herrera's Gen. Hist. of America, II., 379; cited in Dorman's Orig. of Prim. Supers., p. 152 f.

2 Acosta's Hist. Nat. Mor. Ind., Bk. V., chap. 23; cited in Prescott's Conquest of Peru, I., 108, note.

shorter time,-" sometimes a year, sometimes six months, and sometimes less," he would be ministered to, and would receive honors and reverence as a god. Then he would be offered in sacrifice. His heart would be presented to the god. His blood would be employed reverently—as was the case with all sacrifices—in token of covenanting. His flesh would be eaten by the worshipers of the god whom he represented.1 This "rite of dressing and worshiping the sacrifices like the deities themselves, is related as being performed at the festivals of many gods and goddesses.'


A remarkable illustration of the unity of the race, and of the universal sweep of these customs in conjunction with the symbolism of the blood-covenant, is found in the similarity of this last named Central American practice, with a practice charged upon the Jews by Apion, as replied to by Josephus. The charge is, that "Antiochus found, upon entering the temple [at Jerusalem], a man lying upon a bed, with a table before him, set out with all the delicacies that either sea or land could afford." This captive's story was: "I am a Greek, and wandering up and down in quest

1 Herrera's Gen. Hist., III., 207 f.; cited in Spencer's Des. Soc. II., 20.

2 Spencer's Des. Soc., II., 20. See also Southey's Hist. of Brazil, II., 370.

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